Why Didn't I Learn This in School: Terrible Taxes

AOL.com Editors

Benjamin Franklin famously said: "The only thing for certain is death and taxes."

But what Benny didn't tell us is how confusing those forms can be.

To start, why do we pay taxes? We're all chipping in to fund the many programs and services that make our lives a little easier. You're a dependent if a parent or guardian pays 50 percent of your support, and you live with them for at least half the year.

Factors like your age and how much money you earn determine when you're no longer counted as a dependent -- and need to start paying.

See a guide to the most commonly used tax forms below:

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Let's dive into the two most common forms you'll face: The W-2 and the I-9. The I-9 is nothing to be scared of -- every time you get a job, you'll have to fill one out. It's your name and social security number to prove you're eligible to work. If you've been paid at least $600 to work from an employer, they're sending you a W-2 at the end of the year.

1099 forms are typical for freelancers. 1099 forms don't withhold taxes, so be ready to pay more when the time comes.

By law, your employer will mail your tax documents to you by January 21st of that tax year.

The 3 most common forms are 1040EZ if you make less than $50K, 1040A if you make less than $50K with the option of more income sources, and 1040 (nicknamed the "long form") if you make more than $50K and need to itemize.

To itemize, you'll need one more form -- a Schedule A of your 1040. This means you could have a ton of deductions from your gross income before you pay taxes, which means you pay less.

The deadline for taxes is April 15. You can get an automatic extension for October 15, but this is an extension for filing -- not paying.

Everybody has to pay taxes but knowing what forms to fill out - and when - can keep you from paying more than you have to.

Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.
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